I’ve been out there for 5 mornings in a row. I’ve got down on my hands and knees, even in the rain, so I can put my head at the same level as the earth in the hope of its appearance. But there is nothing.
More than any other season spring is a time of rapid change. Bud burst in the vines happens overnight, the grass and weeds almost grow behind the mower and it’s hard to keep up with which fruit tree has blossomed and needs to be protected from the frost.
And yet, despite this frenetic pace, there is still an air of expectation, and the need for patience.
My current test of patience is the asparagus. Our patch is in a shaded area and it takes a long time for the lily family spears to appear. Asparagus is special in our family. It’s always the first new season vegetable on our table and its appearance heralds the end of the hungry month. The hungry month is a period where winter vegetables, fruit and meat have finished or gone to seed but the spring fare has yet to come to harvestable fruition. Of course we don’t really go hungry, but for a short period of time we are very aware of the increase in grocery bills and a corresponding lack of variety and freshness.
Eggs are the exception, and a reminder that they are the beginning of a new life rather than the end result. And man, do we have eggs! Both chicken and duck eggs are overflowing from their storage spot despite our best attempts to give them away.
We are expecting more than asparagus. Out first lambs are starting to be born from our Wiltshire ewes. ‘Twinkle’ our Great White NZ rabbit has just had her first litter of spring kittens, the ducks are beginning to nest and ‘Meadow’ the black bantam has gone broody.
The 2011 Tongue in Groove Riesling and Pinot Noir have been bottled, labelled and packaged up. There is a huge air of expectation as we get ready to launch the wines for the very first time.
It doesn’t stop there though. Twiggy the jersey cow is getting in on the act, with what we hope is the imminent arrival of her first calf. We’ve been practising using milk from her mother Willow and have made butter, yoghurt and quark this week.
The weather is very changeable in the Valley at the moment. I’ve got back out to check again, and joy, two stems of asparagus! They lasted 13 seconds before our four year snapped them off and ate them in a single deft swing from the ground, straight into his mouth.
I have to laugh, pat my pregnant cow and wander inside to finish this blog in time for the Tongue in Groove website to go live.
Great expectations indeed……